Tag Archives: Rep. Kai Kahele

Primaries: Alaska Preview, Hawaii Wrapup; Oklahoma Special Election

By Jim Ellis — August 16, 2022

Primaries

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska — The long-awaited Alaska primary and special House election will be decided today, and the state’s unique top-four qualifying primary system will be put to its second test.

In the US Senate race, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is running for a fourth full term after being appointed to the seat in 2002 when her father, former Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), was elected governor.

The new top-four system virtually guarantees that the senator will advance into the general election, thus negating the potential of her again losing a partisan Republican primary as she did in 2010. In that year, she was able to win the general election after launching a write-in bid as an Independent.

This time, she faces another Republican challenger, one with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Kelly Tshibaka, the former Alaska Director of Administration and Trump-supported candidate, is also well positioned to advance into the general election and may well have been a serious threat to the Senator in a traditional Republican primary.

A total of 19 candidates are on the Senate ballot: eight Republicans, three Democrats, and eight minor party and independent candidates. Of the three Democrats, two — ex-Seward Mayor Edgar Blatchford and former state Senate nominee Pat Chesbro — have previously won campaigns. It is probable that one of these two will also qualify for the general election simply because one will likely attract enough Democratic votes to place either third or fourth.

As is usually the case, polling is sparse in Alaska and we see no late breaking data. This is likely due to the large number of candidates and that a total of four will advance, thus making the primary vote less significant. In the field of four general election candidates, the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system will be used. Voters will assign a priority of 1-4 for the listed candidates. Should no one reach 50 percent, the last-place finisher is eliminated and the process continues until one candidate reaches majority support.

The RCV system is in effect today and will produce a winner among the three finalists in the US House special election campaign to succeed the late at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon).

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

There are three finalists in this race because the original third place finisher, Independent Al Gross, the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee, dropped out of the race after qualifying. This left 2008 vice presidential nominee and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Party of Alaska officially endorsed contender Nick Begich III, whose grandfather, the late Nick Begich, Sr. (D), was the congressman prior to Rep. Young, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).

It is likely that Peltola will finish first, consolidating the Democratic vote, but falling well short of majority support. Thus, the RCV system would then swing into action. The key position will be second, and all indications suggest that Palin and Begich are in a tight battle to avoid elimination. It is then probable that the surviving Republican will defeat Peltola in the second round.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is also on the ballot running for a second term. It is expected that Dunleavy, former Gov. Bill Walker (I), and ex-state Rep. Les Gara (D) will secure three of the four available general election ballot positions.

It will be an interesting night in Alaska, but results won’t likely be clear until well into Wednesday considering the significant time change and the counting delays often seen in the Last Frontier when tabulating votes from the remote rural areas.

Hawaii — Hawaii held its statewide primary Saturday, and the results produced no surprises.  In the defining Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a physician, easily defeated former Aloha State first lady Vicky Cayetano and US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) in a landslide 64-21-14 percent, respectively.  Green now becomes the prohibitive favorite to defeat Republican nominee, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who scored a majority victory in the GOP primary.

In the open 2nd House District race, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda recorded a 59-25 percent victory over state Rep. Patrick Branco (D-Kailua) and four others.  She now becomes a lock to replace Rep. Kahele who risked his safe House seat for his long shot, and now proven unsuccessful, run for governor.  The Republican primary winner, with 83 percent of the vote, is 2020 GOP congressional nominee Joe Akana.  Two years ago, he lost to Kahele 58-28 percent in the general election, and is likely headed to a similar fate later this year.

Sen. Brian Schatz was an overwhelming winner in his Democratic primary, notching 94 percent of his party’s vote.  He will face state Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa), who won the Republican primary with a 41 percent plurality over four opponents.

Rep. Ed Case (D-Kaneohe) also easily won renomination in his 1st District Democratic primary, with an 84-16 percent landslide over progressive left challenger Sergio Alcubilla.

Democratic turnout overwhelmed that of Republicans.  With ancillary counting remaining, a total of 218,523 individuals voted in the Democratic primary versus just 59,006 who chose the Republican contests.

Senate

Oklahoma Special: Conflicting Polls, Same Leader — The Oklahoma Republican runoff election to advance into the November special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) will be decided on Aug. 23. We now see two recently released surveys, both projecting US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) leading former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon but by varying degrees.

The most recent, from Battleground Connect (July 31-Aug. 1; 800 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) sees Rep. Mullin leading Shannon, 46-38 percent. Both men are viewed favorably. Rep. Mullin sports a 62:23 percent favorable ratio, while Shannon scores 48:15 percent, though fewer respondents know him well enough to form an opinion.

The Sooner Poll conducted for News Channel 9 in Oklahoma City. The sampling period was longer and the sample size smaller than Battleground Connect’s (July 25-Aug. 1; 383 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) and it produced an overwhelming advantage for Rep. Mullin, 63-35 percent. The Republican runoff winner will be favored to defeat former US Rep. Kendra Horn, who is the official Democratic Party nominee, in the November special general election.

Iowa Sen. Grassley in Close Race; Kaptur Ahead in OH-9 Poll; Kahele Funding App Rejected in Hawaii

By Jim Ellis — July 11, 2022

Senate

Iowa’s seven-term US Sen. Chuck Grassley (R)

Iowa: Sen. Grassley Close in Opponent’s Poll — A Change Research online poll for Democratic US Senate nominee Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral (June 30-July 1; 488 likely Iowa general election voters; text & online), finds Sen. Chuck Grassley holding only a 49-44 percent edge. CR’s first released post-primary Iowa poll found the Grassley advantage to be an even smaller 45-42 percent. These are the only two released surveys of the Iowa race since the state’s June 7 primary election. Sen. Grassley, 88, already is the longest-serving Iowa US senator, originally elected on the same night when Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980. He has been an elected official since winning his first term in the state House of Representatives back in 1958. Should he win the coming election and complete his next term, he will have served 70 consecutive years as a public official, counting his time in the state legislature, US House and Senate. We are sure to see more data on this race in short order.

House

OH-9: Rep. Kaptur Leads in Republican Poll — A new GOP poll from Info Strategy Northeast (partnering with the Knight Takes Rook consulting firm; June 28-29; 1,254 likely OH-9 general election voters; interactive voice response system) finds veteran Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) leading Republican nominee J.R. Majewski, 47-42 percent, in a new district that the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+6 with a Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean of 48.8D and 48.6R.

Majewski is an Afghan War veteran and Trump campaign activist who defeated both a state representative and senator in the primary election. Rep. Kaptur, elected in 1982, is the most senior House Democrat. Though the voter history of this newly configured 9th District should yield a competitive race, the internal dynamics already suggest that Rep. Kaptur is a clear favorite.

Governor

Arizona: Gov. Ducey Endorses — Term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey (R) publicly endorsed a candidate late last week to succeed him. Ducey supports Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson over the candidate backed by former President Trump, former news anchor Kari Lake. Since ex-US representative and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon dropped out of the race and endorsed Robson, polling suggests this Republican primary race is headed to toss-up status before the Aug. 2 primary election. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is likely to easily win the Democratic nomination.

Hawaii: Rep. Kahele’s Funding Application Rejected — The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission late last week formally rejected US Rep. Kai Kahele’s (D-Hilo) bid to obtain public financing for his gubernatorial campaign. The commission spokesperson indicated that Kahele did not file the affidavit that would commit his campaign to the program’s proscribed spending limits. Kahele was the only one of the gubernatorial candidates to apply for the available $200,000.

Rep. Kahele was elected to the House in 2020, but is leaving after one term to pursue the statewide office, but his effort has not gone well. As we reported Friday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green holds a substantial 48-16 percent lead over Kahele in the Democratic primary. The Democratic nominee will then become the prohibitive favorite to succeed term-limited Gov. David Ige (D).

Oregon: New Poll Projects Three-Way Race — The GS Strategy Group, polling for Independent gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state senator (June 23-29; 600 likely Oregon general election voters) finds former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) leading Johnson and ex-state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) by a tight 33-30-23 percent margin.

A competitive three-way contest could take the race in many directions. The pollster asked if the voters would favor a “socially progressive Democrat,” a “qualified common sense independent,” or a “devout Trump Republican.” The results were 41-32-24 percent in favor of the independent choice, which isn’t particularly good considering the language was slanted to produce a result favoring such a choice. Still, the ballot test suggests that this open race could become interesting.

Gaetz’s FL-1 Primary Becoming Tougher; Conflicting Polls in AZ; Hawaii’s Kahele Looks to Sweep

By Jim Ellis — July 8, 2022

House

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach)

FL-1: Gaetz’s Primary Becoming Serious — Embattled US Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) just saw his Republican primary challenge become tougher. One of his GOP opponents, Air Force veteran Bryan Jones, announced that he is withdrawing from the campaign in order to support and give former FedEx executive and Marine Corps veteran Mark Lombardo a stronger chance of unseating the incumbent.

Lombardo has ingested $1 million of his own money into the race and just released a new television ad emphasizing the sex trafficking investigation that involves the congressman. Now with only test pilot Greg Merk on the ballot to deflect anti-Gaetz votes, Lombardo has positioned himself as a challenger with the potential ability to snatch the nomination away from the congressman. The Florida primary is Aug. 23, and this race will become very interesting between now and then.

Governor

Arizona: Conflicting Polls — Data Orbital and Moore Information are out with polls that tell a different story in what has become a GOP gubernatorial race between former news anchor Kari Lake and Arizona University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson. Last week, ex-US representative and 2000 gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon dropped out of the race and endorsed Robson.

The Moore Information survey was conducted for the Salmon campaign (June 22-23; 1,000 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) and produced a ballot test that posted Robson, for the first time, to a 38-37 percent edge over Lake in a two-way race.

Data Orbital’s poll released Wednesday (June 30-July 2; 515 likely Arizona Republican primary voters; live interview & text), indicated that without Salmon in the race, the previous Lake 39-31 percent advantage drops to 40-35 percent. The Arizona primary is Aug. 2. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is the likely Democratic nominee. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Hawaii: Lt. Gov. Green Swamping Rep. Kahele — A Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now survey (conducted by MRG Research; June 28-30; 1,120 registered Hawaii voters; 782 likely Hawaii Democratic primary voters) projects physician and Lt. Gov. Josh Green to be holding a huge 48-16-15 percent lead over US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo), and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano. Green has enjoyed big leads since the campaign’s beginning. He is clearly the favorite for the party nomination on Aug. 13, and to succeed term-limited Gov. David Ige (D) in the general election.

Maryland: Too Close to Call — The Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, polling for the Wes Moore gubernatorial campaign (June 22-27; 601 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters; live interview), finds the Maryland Democratic primary headed for a razor-thin finish in the upcoming July 19 delayed nomination election.

According to the GHY results, state Comptroller Peter Franchot slips by author Moore by just a 21-20 percent margin, with former Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez closely trailing with 16 percent. A third of the voters still claim to be undecided within two weeks of the primary election. The nomination vote was delayed from its original June 28th date when a court overturned the state’s new congressional lines.

Wisconsin: One Less Republican — Businessman Kevin Nicholson was a late entry into the Republican gubernatorial campaign and now he is an early exit. Nicholson, a former US Senate candidate, Wednesday said he is discontinuing his gubernatorial campaign conceding that he has little chance to win the party nomination. This leaves the race as an ostensibly two-way affair between former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and construction company owner Tim Michels. Gov. Tony Evers is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The general election is expected to be rated as a toss-up.

Brooks Rebounds in Alabama After Trump Pulls Endorsement

By Jim Ellis
May 12, 2022

Senate

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)

Alabama: Brooks Rebounding — It appears that analyses of US Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-Huntsville) Senate campaign being dead in the water after former President Trump pulled his earlier endorsement have proven incorrect. Two new surveys point to Rep. Brooks rebounding to the point of again becoming competitive for the second runoff position from the May 24 primary. The Republican primary is among Brooks, former Business Council of Alabama President & CEO Katie Britt, and businessman and former “Black Hawk Down” pilot Mike Durant.

Two new polls have surfaced suggesting that Rep. Brooks is now making this a three-way race. The Moore Information Group (May 2-5; 400 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview) finds Britt leading the field with 27 percent, followed by Rep. Brooks and Durant in a tie at 20 percent apiece for the second runoff position. In Alabama, if no one reaches the 50 percent mark in this year’s May 24 primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on June 21.

The second poll, from McLaughlin & Associates (May 2-5; 500 likely Alabama Republican primary voters; live interview & text), gives Britt a larger lead at 37 percent, before projecting Durant in second place with 27 percent, and Rep. Brooks closely trailing at 22 percent. The combined data suggests that Britt is the race leader, while the second runoff slot is clearly undecided.

Missouri: Greitens Releases Internal Poll — Resigned Gov. Eric Greitens (R), attempting to rebound from domestic and child abuse accusations from his ex-wife, yesterday released an internal Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey. The poll, conducted for the Greitens campaign (May 2-4; 806 likely Missouri Republican primary voters), sees Greitens leading the group of Republican candidates, but with only 26 percent of the vote. Trailing are US Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville/Columbia) with 19 percent and Attorney General Eric Schmitt with 14 percent.

In the last four polls prior to the Fabrizio Lee release, from four different pollsters, Greitens led in none, with Rep. Hartzler and AG Schmitt topping the field in two apiece. Despite the polls trading leaders, Greitens’ support level remains consistent between 21 and 26 percent in all of the latest publicly released research studies.

Pennsylvania: Trump Endorsement Questioned — Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick (R) is calling out former President Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

In new commercials, the McCormick effort points to television statements that Dr. Oz made supporting the less conservative positions relating to abortion and transgender sex change operations. One of the ads features a clip of Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham stating that Trump endorsing Dr. Oz “is a mistake.” This is the first time we’ve seen an active campaign aggressively oppose a Trump endorsement.

House

HI-2: Rep. Kahele Finally Announces — Coming as no surprise since four elected or formerly elected Democratic officials had already declared their candidacy for what they knew would become an open congressional seat, freshman US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) made public Monday his decision to run for governor and not seek re-election to the House this year.

Rep. Kahele has come under fire for casting the most proxy congressional votes of any member and continuing to fly commercial flights for Hawaiian Airlines while he is a sitting member of the House. The Kahele decision means that a minimum of 61 seats will be open for the 2022 election. The congressman enters a gubernatorial primary where Lt. Gov. Josh Green enjoys large polling leads.

Governor

Nebraska: Close Primary — Two late tracking polls from WPA Intelligence (April 30-May 2; 500 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; live interview and April 26-28; 505 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; live interview) find the poll sponsor, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, leading both company CEO and rancher Charles Herbster and Omaha state Sen. Brett Lindstrom. The largest margin is 31-26-16 percent, and while this does suggest some late momentum for Pillen, the previous WPAi poll found the Pillen lead to be only 24-23-20 percent.

Therefore, the Republican gubernatorial nomination appeared to be up for grabs heading into the primary. Former President Trump endorsed Herbster, but several accusations of sexual harassment have arisen against Herbster, thus causing some support to peel away. Herbster denies the claims. The winner has the inside track toward claiming the November election and succeeding term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R).

Palin Gets Endorsement; Hawaiian Announces for Congress; More

By Jim Ellis

April 29, 2022:

House

HI-2: Another Announces for Congress — Confident that freshman Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) will soon declare his intention to run for governor, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda (D) formally exited the lieutenant governor’s race and announced that she will enter the 1st Congressional District contest.

Though Rep. Kahele is still technically a congressional candidate, Tokuda follows the
lead of state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D-Kailua), state Rep. Angus McKelvey (D-Lahaina),
and Honolulu City Council chairman Tommy Waters (D) who have all entered what they
believe will be an open congressional race. The Hawaii candidate filing deadline is June 7
for the Aug. 13 statewide primary, so Rep. Kahele will soon have to make known his
2022 political plans.


Governor

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate

Alaska: GOP Co-Endorses — After the Alaska Republican Party, which has also endorsed businessman Nick Begich, III over former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, in the US House special election, had already officially endorsed the party’s incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), the political entity has now expanded its official support list. In addition to the governor, the Alaska GOP voted to also endorse Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, who is the governor’s Republican primary challenger.

Connecticut: New General Election Poll — Fairfield, Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University released a new poll of the governor’s campaign, which is expected to become competitive once we enter the post-primary period. The survey (March 24-April 11; 1,000 Connecticut residents; online) finds Gov. Ned Lamont (D) opening with a substantial lead over businessman and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski (R). The ballot test finds the governor holding a 48-30% advantage.

The poll, however, has a questionable methodology. The sampling period of 18 days is very long, and the respondent universe did not segment for likely or even registered voters. Therefore, the result likely places Gov. Lamont in a better position than he might be before a better segmented poll.

Nebraska: Gov Primary Tight — State Sen. Brett Lindstrom (R-Omaha) released a new internal poll of the upcoming May 10 Republican primary that features a very tight contest among himself, businessman Charles Herbster, and former University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen. The Data Targeting/Neilan Strategy Group poll (April 19-20; 858 likely Nebraska Republican primary voters; interactive voice response system) finds Sen. Lindstrom claiming a small lead at 28-26-24 percent edge over Herbster and Pillen, who both have significant support.

The results are a marked improvement for Herbster, who former President Trump endorses, after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. A previous poll showed him losing support. The eventual Republican nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite to win the general election and succeed term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts (R).

Ohio: DeWine Leading Gov Primary but Below 50 percent — Fox News released the results of their new Ohio poll (April 20-24; 906 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; live interview) that finds Gov. Mike DeWine leading his Republican primary opponents, former US Rep. Jim Renacci and farmer Joe Blystone by a 43-24-19 percent margin. This represents a downward trend for the governor of a net 11 points from March’s Fox Poll. Combined, the opponents equal DeWine’s support, but with the anti-incumbent vote split, it is likely that the governor wins a plurality nomination race next Tuesday.